Thursday, May 31, 2012

Joshua Tree

On my birthday week the Hubby and I traveled south to check out a different side of California.
This National Park is located where the Colorado Desert and Mojave Desert converge. It is a place that is full of unique rock formations, hardy animals, and crazy Dr. Seuss-like plants.
 This is the oasis in the park and there are Cottonwood trees kinda growing out of Palm trees here. A very random site, it seemed 20 degrees cooler in the middle of these trees than it did 50 feet away.
 Besides the Joshua Trees (named by Mormons who were traveling from the Mexican/American War to Utah after the war was over), these were probably my favorite plant in the park.  It is an Ocotillo and is not a cactus. This is a close up view of the leaves that are just growing without stems from the branches.
 On the top of the long tendrils is a red flower. Some of these plants looked dead and were void of foliage, but were just dormant, waiting for another rain storm.
 Here are pictures of a different type cactus called Cholla. They say not to step on the little blown off bristles no matter how small, because they are tough, sharp and can penetrate the soles of shoes.
Be careful!
 The closeup shows the little yellow flowers that look like a berry.
 There were thousands of these in one area of the Colorado Desert.

 My cute hubby. It was 112 degrees and he just went along with my hikes and tours of this National Park without a complaint. What a nice guy!
 And,…. He takes great pictures too.
 The forest of Joshua trees, which are a type of Yucca, was remarkable.
 This little guy was not going to move a muscle. Maybe we wouldn't notice him at all.
 Hey there.
This arch looks like an elephant?
 The rock formations were as interesting as the flora and fauna. Mountains of rocks that appear stacked into formations.
We missed most of the wild desert flowers because of the late spring time that we were there, but we got to see a few of these gems.

More Baby Blankets

Seems like there is a steady supply of little ones being born in our ward this year.
I failed to take a picture of ELI done with an embroidered dinosaur "E," but this little owl is a cute take on another animal that is also popular for the 2012 year. All done up in old "Oklahoma" costume fabric from Kathryn's 6th grade play at Fisher Middle School.
Still loving the soft minky fabric and silky satin border for babies.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No Pool??

We have been members of the "Club" (athletic) down the street for nearly 2 decades.
Yikes, I hadn't thought of that in the long term for a while. Think of how much money we've sunk into (ie; waisted on) that place.
I think I have used the pool down there a total of 6 times, so I don't often think about it at all. The other day, however, I was picking up L #1 from school early when her mother was gone and I wondered what fun thing I could do with my little granddaughter. It was a rather warm day, and since the pool in our backyard looks something like this.
It was decided to go to the Club and use theirs. 
A good time was had by ALL!

Mother Nature

You never know what might happen when growing children, or building with rocks, or planting a tree. It seems that you just get to do a little work and then sit back and make discoveries about its outcome.
Here's a very random example. Why did this one tulip grow so much after it was cut and placed in water?
Did we not treat the other tulip the same?
This is after 2 days of being in the arrangement. It had started out fairly evenly.
Love it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lunar Eclipse

The Hubby and I were in Palm Desert last week to celebrate my birthday and to use up a Marriott Club vacation week. not in that order
We were able to see the lunar eclipse and even though we hadn't made a box for viewing it, my smart Hubby knew just what to do.
Apparently when he was a boy, he had a father that knew just what to do when you wanted to view to sun as the moon was moving through it. Grandpa Hodgman, as I knew him, was a practical and smart man who was always up on the latest news and events. So … he made a cool box that you could look into and see the reflection of the sun against a white piece of paper that was strategically placed.
This time we had no box. The Hubby just devised another method and put a pinhole in a piece of paper that reflected through to another piece of paper with the image of the eclipse.
 Look at this tiny reflection.
 Now the moon is moving through to the other side of the sun.
 I took this with my iPhone and somehow got a reflection in the lower 1/3 of the picture of the eclipse.
How did that happen??? Very cool!!!
This is from Stephanie's IPhone. She had driven to Moab, Utah to view it with some friends. They were at Arches National Park and got special glasses from the ranger for viewing.

What a beautiful world.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Monthly Progress Update

There are hundreds of pictures to choose from, and I did want to show the major work and so I FILLED this post with picture after picture for my own documentation. Sorry - you don't have to go all the way through it, you can stop now if this bores you.
 This last month was huge in the advancement of our back yard project.
 The concrete guys were on top of their game as they poured the rough in for the main patio.
 This one pour involved 4 sets of stairs,
 the lower patio just outside of the main part of the house,
 (this is the very definition of playing in the mud)
and the upper patio outside of the cabana house and in front of the shallow end of our pool.
 A few days later was the install of the steel roof for the main arbor on the upper patio.
 In came the crane,
 and it lifted the beams up one by one.

 All the way over the house to the back yard.
 Placed on top of the four posts that had already been bolted, welded, and cemented in place.
 We even invited the blimp for our big day.
 The "bends" were placed on one by one,
 All the while the pool guys were shoring up the top of the pool for a nice even edge for the coping as well as the tiles.
Nice stairs and landing at the top for entrance into the cabana.
 Our pool man and The Hubby talking about all the details of the skimmers and bobbers.
 You can see the welder in the background.

 All done with the steel install.
 Meanwhile, the masons are starting to border the patio with the "Frontier Tan" rock. There is the drain out 12 inches from the edge of the wall.
 The "Amoras" rock is the wall rock and it is more colorful and randomly shaped.
While the Frontier Tan is a rectangular and square pattern. 
If you notice the pile of soil to the right of this next picture, it shows that the 2 huge trees roots are still not covered up. I started bugging the contractor and finally got the workers to put the back of wall drainage in so that we could get those roots covered back up. I want my trees to remain healthy. They seem fine and all leafed out, but I was just a little worried about stressing them out too much.
 Beautiful!!!! Taking shape, eh?
 I told you there were a lot of pictures.
 Planter outside of garage.
 Vents for the crawl space airflow.
 The mason cut the rock down 1/8 inch all the way around to accommodate each of the 7 vents that go against the house. Very precise and good job.
 Now the concrete guys are setting the coping trim all the way around the pool. We had chosen a brownish concrete, but after the mock up was done, we changed to a little more olive toned concrete. It matches the stone better and we are probably going to have it sandblasted after it is poured.
 This is where the basketball standard is going to go. The pipes just slip into these sleeves that are set down into the concrete.
And finally the last fire feature to pour a footing for. 
This next month is going to see all the concrete finished, the mason work will also make most of its progress, the pool should get nearly finished and the ceiling/ wood posts done. Hopefully the dirtscapes will also begin taking shape with the irrigation, potting soil, etc.